John Cole is driven into shrill unholy madness

by Henry Farrell on August 24, 2007

John Cole’s _Balloon Juice_ was one of those blogs on the other side of the spectrum that I used to read to balance my left wing blog diet a bit; he was one of the reasonable pro-war bloggers, back in the day when there was such a thing as a reasonable pro-war blogger. Things seem to be … “a little different”: at Balloon Juice these days than they used to be:

I am firmly convinced it is only going to get worse from this administration and the nutjobs at the Weekly Standard. That is, unfortunately, a given, as we know how low they will go- as low as they possibly can. The only interesting question for me is how far will the lunatic fringe 28% crowd in the blogosphere go? How outrageous will the rhetoric have to get before the Malkins, the Hewitts, and all the rest of them say “Wait a minute- that crosses the line?”

I am betting they will never find a line they will not cross- this is not about Iraq or domestic politics anymore. This isn’t about the soldiers and it isn’t about the prospect of Democracy in Iraq. This is about being “right” in the face of evil leftists. This is about “winning.” This is not about what these policies and this vile rhetoric are doing to this nation and our standing- this is about saving face and their own personal stake in what they have attached themselves to in the course of achieving “victory.” My guess is Bush and his speechwriters and Kristol and those mutants at the Weekly Standard and other rags feel comfortable saying this stuff because they know that out there in the blogosphere and the world there are ample knuckledraggers willing and happy to cover for them.

Sadly, they are probably right. It doesn’t matter what type of filth you churn out- The Powerline will have your back. Remember- the Democrats are worse.

At the very _least_ that’s worth transmogrification into an unspeakable tentacular horror. But he’s not the only rightwinger who’s angry. Which makes me wonder. If we discount the out-and-out hacks, my entirely unscientific impression that apparently smart1 pro-war bloggers who were/are genuinely right wing have been much more likely than apparently smart pro-war bloggers who were (or who claim to have been) left of center to accept that they were wrong and that their former comrades appear to be increasingly deranged. To the extent that I’m right, I suspect that there’s some psychological mechanism involving the sunk costs of ideological conversion here (but I could of course be wrong).

1 By ‘apparently smart’ I don’t mean ‘seems to be smart but isn’t,’ I mean ‘appears to be smart as best as one can tell from their writings on the Internets.’

Do you know what this blog needs? More posts about the constraints of international law on American foreign policy!

My two pence worth on this subject (which probably doesn’t really merit a full post but I can’t find the right one to append it to as a comment) is that although the criterion “America can unilaterally decide to invade anywhere in the world if it feels like its interests are threatened” looks like something of an insane recipe for perpetual war, it would potentially be an improvement on the current situation.
[click to continue…]